Disney is a bit overly fond of using the word “magical.”
But in the case of Be Our Guest, the word magical truly applies.
Be Our Guest is one of Walt Disney World’s most popular restaurants (second only to breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle). The wait list is legendary – you need to book your reservation as soon as you soon as you start planning your trip. But be sure you book it, because this is a vegan bucket list destination.
Be Our Guest is inspired by the the Walt Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. If, for some reason, you are more familiar with the 1946 Jean Cocteau film or the 1976 TV movie starring George C. Scott, I’d highly recommend you take the time to watch the Disney version. Or at least check out the song, “Be Our Guest,” on Youtube. Otherwise you’ll be wondering why everyone is urging you to “try the grey stuff.” (It’s delicious! Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!)
Atmosphere: Enchanting. The restaurant is located at the base of the Beast’s castle. There’s a waterfall, stone lions and gargoyles, suits of armor, stained glass windows, elaborate chandeliers, and Michelangelo-esque painted ceilings.
Service: “Quick Service” at breakfast and lunch; “full service” in the evenings. However, the quick service here is far more elegant and refined than other Disney quick-service restaurants. You place your order on a touch screen, then get your fountain drink, flatwear, and find a seat in one of the three dining rooms (the Grand Ballroom, the West Wing, or the Library). The situation then transforms into a “full service” experience, with cast members bringing your order on real plates, following up throughout your meal, and removing your dishes.
Menu: “French” and – for Disney – very veg friendly!
First, you don’t have to go through the hassle and inconvenience of calling ahead and making a special request or having a chef come to your table. There are vegetarian and vegan options right there on the menu!
There are two soups on the menu. The Potato Leek soup is vegetarian. And, if you leave off the cheese, the French Onion soup is vegan!
Out of seven adult entrees, one is vegetarian (Vegetable Quiche) and one is vegan (Quinoa Salad). Both are a reasonable $12.99. (The meat entrees run $16.99). For children, there’s whole-grain macaroni with marinara sauce and seasonal vegetables that can be ordered with or without cheese. There’s also garden salads and fruit cups. In the evening, there’s a Layered Ratatouille over quinoa. It’s pricier at $21.00, but still priced fairly and favorably compared to meat entrees – $32 for a lamb chop or $35 for a steak.
The Food Itself: I had the Quinoa Salad – “Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Potatoes, Olives, Roasted Bell Peppers, Golden Beets and Tomatoes.” To be honest, I didn’t have the highest of expectations. I’m very picky about quinoa and not very fond of salads, unless it’s a really, really good salad.
And this was a really, really good salad. A mix of leaves, top quality ingredients, and an exquisite dressing. The quinoa was perfectly cooked (not overcooked and “popped”), perfectly seasoned, and topped with golden beets.
As I ate, I discovered a pile of fresh green beans and roasted potato wedges – so the meal turned out to be fairly substantial as well as tasty. Bonus: It was still light and non-greasy enough I felt energized, not sleepy, and could hop back on the Mad Tea Party Teacups or Splash Mountain without feeling queasy.
I didn’t see a vegan dessert option on the menu, so unfortunately we vegans will need to forego the “grey stuff.” However, I’ve heard that most Disney full-service restaurants offer chocolate and vanilla dairy-free ice cream and raspberry sorbet. And of course, there’s fruit.
Altogether, a wonderful experience and one I would recommend for several reasons. The ambiance and fairy-tale setting. The fact that Be Our Guest actually has veg options (tasty ones at that- which you can order straight off the menu!) And finally, it’s quite affordable. For vegans and vegetarians, at least.
One final advantage – Be Our Guest is located in Fantasy Land (The Magic Kingdom), so you don’t have to park-hop for an elegant, adult meal.